John Williams won his fourth Oscar for his work on ET the Extra-Terrestrial, and his whimsical music played an undeniable role in creating the film’s magic The role made this movie a childhood favorite of many movie fans. But the movie still left Williams with some questions that Movie Magic couldn’t answer.
In a conversation with Steven Spielberg at the American Film Center event titled “Spielberg/Williams: 50 Years of Music and Film,” Williams revealed that “ET” is his favorite A film directed by Spielberg.
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“It’s hard to say because I think Saving Private Ryan is the best World War II story ever written,” Williams said. “But I think ‘ET’ could be Steven’s masterpiece. It’s almost a perfect movie.”
But the 90-year-old composer isn’t entirely convinced by the physics of one of its most famous scenes. Williams went on to explain that he was always puzzled by how fast Elliott and his friends had to ride their bikes to fly across the moon.
“The speed at which the bike goes over the moon … that always bothers me a little bit, especially when I’m driving it,” he said. “I kept thinking, what’s the escape velocity? How fast do you need to get it out of gravity? I never knew what that was, but it was in the back of my mind.”
After decades of thinking, Williams finally took matters into his own hands.When NASA honors him with the Distinguished Public Achievement Medal in 2022, he takes the opportunity to ask an astronaut about the science of “alien”
“I went to the Kennedy Center last year to do something musical, and NASA decided to give me an award,” he said. “The guy who showed it to me was an astronaut, and in one quiet moment I said to him, ‘What’s escape velocity?’ He said, ‘That’s 17,500 miles per hour. What happens is you board It takes eight minutes for a spaceship to accelerate from zero to 17,500 miles per hour.”
Williams continued: “He said, ‘We’re in the cabin for eight minutes and we’re shaking like crazy and it’s deafening and disorienting. Then you finally get up and you get to 17.5 and all of a sudden everything stops. , no gravity, total silence. He said once we get rid of gravity, we’ll have a minute’s silence before we start our program. We look at Earth and play ‘Star Wars.'”
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